Canine Health and Nutrition Information from Dr Ken Tudor.

Should I Avoid Salt in My Dog’s Diet?

Ken Tudor - Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Salt isn't a Problem for Healthy DogsDo you make sure the canned green beans you give your dog for treats are low in sodium? Do you check the sodium levels in her dog treats or the human treats you feed him?  Why?


Why do you think the sodium in salt will harm her? For some reason, there is this persistent belief that sodium is bad for dogs and must be avoided. I hear it daily in veterinary practice. Salt is not a problem for your dog unless she has heart problems or he has kidney problems. And guess what? Excess salt won’t cause those problems.

About Sodium


Sodium is a mineral that is extremely important in nerve and heart function. It is very important in fluid regulation of cells and the vascular system. So, its levels in the blood are carefully regulated. If your dog gets too much salty his diet, his body simply eliminates in the urine. If your dog is not eating enough salt, her kidneys preserve sodium by not excreting it in the urine and collect it from cells that don’t need it.


It is only when the kidneys don’t work well and can’t eliminate sodium that excess dietary salt is a problem and causes increased blood pressure. Salt increases the water volume of blood. Heart patients pump blood very slowly, the increase in blood volume causes increased pressure in the blood vessels and water leaks into the lungs and abdomen. Reducing salt in these patients helps reduce this leakage and the cough associated with heart disease.


For all other dogs, salt is not a problem. In fact, dogs like salty food. For dogs with bladder stones problems, extra salt in the diet can increase water consumption. The excess water is excreted by the kidneys and dilutes urine. Urine dilution keeps crystals from forming bladder stones.


So, relax about salt in your dog’s diet. In fact, relax about it in yours. Unless you have high blood pressure, kidney disease or heart disease, salt won’t hurt you either. There is no scientific evidence that consuming more salt will cause high blood pressure or hypertension, heart or kidney problems. It can only make those conditions worse if they already exist.


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